The Importance of a Well-Groomed Child

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Science  12 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5332, pp. 1620-1621
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5332.1620

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The handling of rat pups by humans has a subsequent positive effect on the rats' endocrine system and cognitive functioning as adults. A report in this issue indicates that this effect may be due to the intense licking and grooming that these handled pups receive by their mothers when they are returned to the fold. In a Perspective, Sapolsky discusses the neuroendocrine basis for this conclusion and its implications for human development.